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Every day, U.S. businesses experience thousands of attempted hacker intrusions (see a live map here).

With cybercrime on the rise globally, it’s important to understand some of the motivation behind cybercrime.

Since hackers can have a negative impact on a business, it’s important for companies to have a variety of ways to reduce the risk of hacking.

In addition, it’s essential for human resource managers to understand the risks of hackers.

Simple Beginnings

Early hackers would often break into computers for the sheer thrill of success.

In many cases, breaking into a computer could prove that one had a unique set of skills that others didn’t have.

In some cases, hackers would deface websites and graffiti them with vanity information about themselves.

Today’s Hacker

While hackers still engage in these types of activities, modern hacking has turned into a business.

In many cases, hackers will break into computer systems to steal proprietary business information that can benefit their clients.

For example, there are thousands of hacking attempts that originate in China every day.

Since China recently made the transition from communism to state capitalism, many entrepreneurs in this country are looking to produce modern goods and services.

Unfortunately, China doesn’t have a long history of technological innovation and research behind it.

Because of this, some in China will often resort to theft to get what it wants.

For example, Chinese businesses will often steal cell phone designs, vehicle blueprints, manufacturing processes, medication research, scientific research, computer technology and much more.

More examples, there have been a number of cases where companies, like ZTE and Huawei several years ago, had stolen data from companies like Apple to create smartphones and other consumer electronics.

By copying the designs of American manufacturers, Chinese companies can benefit from the research carried out by another group.

Hacker Strategies Are Getting Complex

In addition, it’s important to understand how cyber criminals will use malware and hacking techniques to steal money.

Every day, millions of people around the world use computers to send and receive important financial data.

This can include banking passwords, routing numbers and more. If a hacker is able to steal this information, he or she may be able to clear out a bank account.

Hackers will also hijack computers to turn them into spam machines.

For example, imagine that an individual has downloaded a program from a file-sharing service or other nefarious sources.

In many cases, these types of downloads can contain malware and other viruses.

When an individual installs malware, it will silently set up a mail server on an individual’s computer.

That computer will then be used to send out spam to millions of email addresses.

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Competition within the Hacker’s World

In many cases, hackers get a commission based on the number of successful referrals they can make through a spam site.

Most spam is based around online pharmacies.

When an individual buys products from an illicit online pharmacy, he or she will send money to a private company.

This company will send some of that money to the spammer that made the referral.

The Latest Hack Type is Cunning, Devious, Destructive

Though it has been around for a while, lately ransomware has taken on a new life as hackers become more sophisticated and clever in their ways.

The ransomware gets into your machine by a very professional looking email or popup that points to something you need — they have learned what you need from planting and/or tapping into your cookies earlier.

As the presentation and offer look legit, many will click for the download or click the email to open a web page.

Nothing much seems to happen after the download or web page is opened — however, your machine has already started an encryption process that only the hacker can undo.

And EVERY data file – txt, doc, docx, xls, xlsx, pdf, jpg, png, gif, yah-dah, yah-dah,-yah-dah — becomes encrypted and unusable unless you have the key.

Not just on the machine that initiated the ransomware, encryption occurs on every machine on the network to which that computer is attached.

And you won’t have the key unless you pay the ransom, which usually very expensive (from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars), which usually has to be paid within one week… or the ransom will double… or more.

Some have made the mistake of paying the ransom — and were attacked again…

The only out of all this is taking down your computer or your system (as a whole network will be affected not just one machine), format every machine, and restore every machine from backups.

Not very pretty — you do backup your system regularly, yes?

Conclusion

While cybercrime is a growing problem in the United States, there are many colleges that are teaching students about effective strategies to safeguard against hacking.

In addition, there are many ways that a human resource manager can guard against employee behaviors that can increase the risk of a hacking incident.


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Garrett O'Brien

CEO, Chairman, Publisher, Editor at The HRIS World Research Group

Garrett is the publisher, editor, writer forThe HRIS World Research Group, which includes The HRIS World, The HRIS World Research, The HRIS World Jobs, The HRIS World News, and The HRIS World Videos

With more than 20 years in roles as a client executive sponsor (#thwCES), project manager as well as functional / technical lead, Garrett is sought for his expertise for project insights, thought leadership, and team management globally.

He has been involved in large-scale and complex implementations since 1991 and has recently moved his operations to be with his wife in Brazil.

Garrett has had the pleasure of working with some of the greatest talents in the industry, and constantly shares his experiences and knowledge through content and webinars.

He maintains his fluency in Portuguese, German, French, and English with his various endeavors and contacts..

When not working, you will have to be adventurous to stay up with him as Garrett loves motorcycling, gunnery, boating, sailing, flying, and sports fishing -- and accompanying his wife on her various likes

About The HRIS World Research Group

The HRIS World blog, which is read by more than 50,000 from more than 160 countries monthly, manages to have more than 550,000 pages viewed monthly. 40%+ of the audience are decision-makers in their organization (and about half of that being C-levels!).

As CEO for CGServices USA Inc, he focuses on multi-provider, multi-line implementations consultation for HRIS systems

Council and Education Member of Gerson Lehrman Group Council, helping institutions of the world leaders meet, engage and manage experts across a wide range of sectors and disciplines.

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